A life for a life Batman. I will not kill you. Today.
~ Orca, while escaping Batman.
Dr. Grace Balin, or better known as Orca, is a villainess in DC Comics and an enemy of Batman. She is a marine biologist who (after being paralyzed) experimented with the idea of regenerative spinal cord tissue using the tissue of an Orca whale. Eventually, she created a formula from the Orca tissue that ended up turned herself into a giant humanoid Orca.
Prior to becoming Orca, Grace Balin attended Gotham Gate college and quickly became fascinated with the ocean and sea life. After graduating college, she received a PhD in marine biology and Bio-Medicine and took a job at the Gotham Aquarium and later helped fund an after-school program involving the ocean for underprivileged youths and volunteered at a soup shelter.
Unfortunately, Dr. Balin is later involved in an (unspecified) accident that leaves her paralyzed, leaving her dependent on a wheelchair for mobility. Balin attempts to continue her normal life without the use of her legs, but but soon becomes desperate to cure her paralysis after the Gotham Aquarium is supposed to be closed for lack of funding. Dr. Balin then experiments with spinal cord tissue regeneration using the spinal cord tissue of an Orca from the aquarium, but her funding is cut by her superiors due to her gene therapy sessions and human experimentation becoming far too controversial. It is later implied that Dr. Balin created a formula to repair her spinal cord using the Orca tissue, but ended up turning herself into Orca as a result. Unfortunately, although she can transform between her human and Orca forms at will, while her Orca form is completely mobile, her human self still remained paralyzed.
After Balin's transformation, Orca begins a crime spree by stealing a valuable diamond called the Flame of Persia from rogue millionaire Camille Baden-Smyther, resulting in Batman getting involved. Orca then tries to sell the diamond back to Camille and use the money to help fund multiple projects designed to help Gotham's underprivileged population, however, her plan falls apart when she realizes that Camille had stolen the diamond originally and attempts to kill her. During the ensuing fight, Orca is shot multiple times and mortally wounded by Camille's security forces and she attempts to escape, but is pursued by Batman. After a lengthy underwater chase, Orca begins changing back into Dr. Balin in an underwater cavern and starts to succumb to her injuries, telling Batman that she will die unless he gives her the rest of the formula that turned her into Orca, although this would permanently transform her. Camille tries to talk Batman out of giving her the formula, arguing that Batman would be responsible for every crime she would commit afterwords, but Batman counters her argument, stating that everyone is responsible for their own actions, as well as that he refuses to allow anyone to die. Having ingested the formula, Orca swims away, and it is later shown that she sold the diamond to its original owner and that she used the money she earned to create a new recreation center near the aquarium as well as to "...gentrify a derelict waterfront tenement.".
Much later, during the Joker's "Last Laugh" riots, Orca appears as a prisoner of The Slab. Orca is later seen escaping the prison with King Shark.
During One Year Later, Orca is found dead in the sewers under Gotham City, having been fatally shot in the head by what seem to be Harvey Dent's guns and partially eaten by Killer Croc. During Jason Bard's interrogation of Orca's husband Terry, he is murdered by theTally Man. During the investigation of the murder, it is revealed that Orca, along with KGBeast, Magpie and the Ventriloquist and Scarface had all been associates of the Penguin and someone had contracted them to turn on The Penguin and rob one of his storage facilities. It is later shown that Tally Man was hired by the Great White Shark to assassinate Orca and the other villains and frame Harvey Dent in an elaborate plot to destroy his life.
In the DC Rebirth reboot universe, Orca is mentioned by Copperhead and Cheshire as one of the numerous villains who tried and failed to kill Batman for Two-Face.
Orca makes her first physical appearance Nightwing #11, where she is a part of a criminal group in Bludhaven called the Whale's Enders and is ordered to kill Nightwing. As mentioned early into the story, Grace was formerly a member of the Run-Offs, a rehab group for former Gotham supervillains, but left because she considered herself too much of a monster to relate to them, implying that her transformation is permanent. When Nightwing and the Run-Offs try to interrogate Carter Forsyth, Orca and the Whale's Enders attack Carter's trailer and begin to fight them. After Nightwing and the Run-Offs defeat her by having Giz's squirrel put headphones playing an airhorn blowing at 300 decibels in her ears, Orca reveals she and the Whale's Enders were just a distraction so Carter Forsyth to be killed by the False Face Society.
A second Orca named Dean Toye appeared as a member of the Aquamarines; a government task force of genetically altered soldiers specifically trained to combat Atlanteans. This Orca was deployed with his team to assassinate Aquaman who was framed for starting a war with the surface. However, they were all soon defeated and imprisoned by Atlantean forces.
The Lego Batman Movie
I'M A WHALE!
~ Orca explaining her abilities to Barbra Gordon
Orca, along with many of Batman's more obscure enemies, makes her cinematic debut in The Lego Batman Movie.
Unlike her comic counter part, this version of Orca is the same size as a regular human, which is strange considering that other villains in the movie, such as Killer Croc and Clayface, retain their inhuman size. It is likely Orca's size and abilities are downplayed for comedic effect, as is the case with almost every other villain in the movie.
In the film, Orca, along with almost all of Batman's notable supervillain enemies, appears as one of the Joker's henchmen. Orca is mentioned by Joker as one of the many supervillains working for him when he lists them to the pilot of a plane carrying dozens of explosives and is later seen when Joker attack Commissioner Gordon's retirement party. Orca, along with the other villains, is incarcerated in Arkham Asylum when Joker reveals that he wants to go to jail for all his crimes and is seen dancing with him and multiple other inmates.
Much later into the film, Orca and all the other villains who escaped Arkham arrive to assist Batman, Robin, Barbra Gordon and Alfred in defeating the army of villains Joker and Harley Quinn released from the Phantom Zone after Joker proclaimed that all his former henchmen were terrible villains. Notably, when Barbra Gordon asked about what abilities the villains have, Orca replies by shouting "I'M A WHALE" and Barbra Gordon replies with "Good."
So far, this is the only appearance Orca has made in any form of media outside comics.
Orca has been negatively received by both critics and fans alike as being both one of Batman's most ridiculous and strange foes and is considered one of the worst villains in Batman's Rogues Galley. On July 3rd 2013, Dorkshelf.com jokingly ranked Orca, along with some of Batman's other well known terrible villains such as Crazy Quilt, Kite Man, Ten Eyed Man, Polka Dot Man and Tweedledum and Tweedledee as one of the many terrible villains who should star in their own issues during DC's villains month event.